Therapy

I like this image, it reminds me that it’s the key stone – in the middle – that holds up a strong arch. Sometimes the arch, or bridge is strong enough it walk on, once the key stone is in place,

thats what therapy is about for me, finding that keystone – of believing in it, trusting in it, maybe learning to walk on it ?

I know people have been advising me for some time (on this blog) to go for therapy, and many people have recounted how significant the process has been for them in their sobriety. Can you understand if I say I was a bit reluctant because I knew, deep down, that the casualty of my being honest in a therapeutic relationship was likely to be my partnership with (ex) Mr Lily. I honestly did not expect that just by getting sober, everything would change as it has, but on reflection, the clarity that comes with ongoing sobriety has forced me to face the problems that’s have always been there….

I feel sad, but I also feel I have done everything I possibly could to hold this together. Probably more than I should have done, certainly more than I would expect anyone else to have done. If I have reached the “end of the road” , it’s not because I haven’t tried. I don’t feel I have to reproach myself.

So now that I have started therapy, I think (hope) this process of self realisation and  examination will prevent me from repeating mistakes I have made in my personal life over and over again. I also now understand why some therapists don’t like to work with people who drink too much / take drugs.  It’s because, when intoxicated so often, with the best intentions you can’t be in touch with your real feelings …

So .. Do you know what? I’m ok. I thought I would crumble, collapse and become totally incapable. I haven’t . Slowly I’m getting stuff done. I’m not crying all day. I’m connecting with MY anger about HIS failings rather than just blaming myself ( and before you go all judgy on me – I know all relationships take two to work and two to fail. But it’s not ALL my fault. And I alone could not have made it work. So I don’t actually have to shoulder ALL the guilt.

I like the lady who is my therapist. She ticks the boxes I had “pre set” but she’s also kind, and human; she helps me see “answers” for myself, but she also answers my questions … Do you think it matters if you ‘like’ your therapist ? I know it matters to me that in’like’ my own GP – in so far as the therapeutic relationship goes … ?

Full of questions. Ironically feeling guilty that I’m not MORE upset at the loss of exP. maybe the onslaught will come, or maybe I just tried so hard for so long to no avail that I’ve just run out of emotion. ….

 

 

Day 13 of singledom

this is hard.

its the loss of the future that’s hard as well as the “missing him”. I do miss him, but I don’t miss the tension in the house, and I don’t miss the anxiety, stress and frustration.

But I am getting better, my concentration has improved, my capacity to do things has increased and I am adjusting.

im not drinking. I have no interest in drinking and despite the stress I’m feeling I don’t even particularly want to ‘escape’ from it.

I want to understand .

i want to know why this has all gone so wrong.

its hard to explain how much I loved this man. I just adored him. Maybe that was the problem from the beginning. Maybe l loved him so much I gave everything, allowed everything, committed everything before I saw what was really going on.

the boys are I are rather confused at the moment. Slightly directionless. I’m both anxious about the future and too busy worrying about now to care. I’m seeking solitude but then don’t know what to do with myself. I want to exercise but feel weak because I can’t eat. I feel like I need closure, but don’t now what closure looks like, or feels like. He now wants to go to couples counselling. I both want to, and don’t want to. I can’t see the point and yet I want to make my points and have them acknowledged. But I know that they won’t be. He might listen ( in the presence of a third party) but I doubt he will HEAR.

IM SO ANGRY, and then again I’m totally apathetic.

Im also bored, but I have a hundred things to do.

Basically I have no stability, no structure, no certainty, I’m lurching from one day / hour to the next. I hate this.

But im lighter than I was . I can see this, feel this , know this.

 

Tuesday

I can’t believe the last post I made was 3 days ago.

ive been very busy, but I don’t feel much further forward.

yesterday I tool all three of my sons, and B’s new girlfriend to a theme park for the day. We went to collect her, drove some way to the park and then did the reverse, at 6 PM. I’m exhausted today. That’s probably why I’m so flat.

Of all the moods and emotions I have, I hate this one the most. Apathy, fatigue, ennui. Everything seems pointless. I see only the negative, the worst possible outcomes. I distrust my own judgement, I struggle to get anything at all done.

im still sober, that’s honestly right now, the only good thing I can see about this whole mess.

So. I’m going to force myself to write what I know in my head and see if I can believe it in my heart…

  • no1 son is happier and more focussed and positive than I have seen him in years
  • i have done a brave thing ending a relationship that was making me unhappy
  • i am strong and capable and there is nothing I cannot manage (or find someone who can)
  • The house is happier.
  • my kids are at critical times in their lives; they need me.

I will be ok.

i took Bianca and Lola for a ride early in the morning – photo above – I didn’t fall off, but I have a lot of training to do if I am to ride 100 miles in a day !

Sending you all love. Lily 🌷

Relapse

Not alcohol, don’t panic. !

Today I saw exP. I had several reasons for doing so. One was that he has seemed to me to still be in denial about the current state of affairs; he says he doesn’t understand why I had called time on our relationship; I feel more stable and able to manage. I have to be able to regain some kind or normality soon – I can’t stay off work forever, and I need to regain some equilibrium.

Of course he was contrite. Of course he was nice. Of course he was sorry. Of course he agreed that I had valid points. Of course he apologised for behaviour that he agreed had been unacceptable. We conducted an adult and respectful conversation for 90 minutes or so.

Why on earth does it have to take this much disruption, me locking him out, ending a relationship of 6 years, splitting a family, disrupting my life; why can’t he listen to me before I have to go ballistic?

I Feel I have backtracked, I saw him, alone. To some extent his remorse has touched me. He reminded me, of course, of the man I fell in love with. I’m no longer so angry . I’m no closer to removing his stuff from my house.

On the other hand he is not here. I made it clear he cannot live here. I clearly restated my deal breakers and my fundamental belief that the main problem is our inability to communicate in an adult way. That he is inherantly a critical person, and I have low self esteem, which doesn’t exactly make things easy.

i should feel better. I don’t really. I feel weak. I feel I have let people down . I feel ashamed of myself again. Although I suppose as long as I keep him away from my kids, that’s the main point.

in short. I should feel better, I do in a way. But I think it’s false security. I don’t trust him, but I don’t trust myself either. I feel I’ve exposed myself again. Made myself vulnerable. Allowed him to see my weakness. Given him a way to start getting back in.( or at least given him a reason to think he might)  Not made the clean break I had intended.

depressed, flat and sad tonight. At least I’m sober.

Sorry. Giving up him seems harder than giving up alcohol although I’m not sure he’s any better for me ….

 

 

 

 

 

Asking for support

I’m reaching out today. I feel extremely vulnerable today.

i am very very aware that my ExP has ‘talked me round’ from this position (when I have said our relationship is untenable) previously. It’s now a week since I locked him out. Since the proverbial “camels back” snapped over something that was, in itself quite trivial.

the deal breakers underlying, are anything but trivial.

always previously, he has talked me round. Persuaded me that what I feel is wrong. That his reasoning is correct. Sometimes, he will promise that things will be different, of course they never are.

I am afraid this time is coming. I am afraid that once he thinks I have ‘calmed down’ , the charm offensive will start. And I will struggle to resist him. Despite the fact that I know, I know, this relationship cannot work. I don’t know why I think he will be able to erode my resolve, but I do. I have such shit self esteem that I struggle to trust myself at all.

I have said I will not see him alone. I can’t. But even in my own head the doubts are creeping in.

I saw my therapist this morning, and we talked about exactly this. He has no POWER really, it’s all in my head.

I can do this. I stopped drinking, I can end a relationship which is making me unhappy.

So why am I so scared?

Breathe in ; breathe out

This piece is written by Danielle LaPorte, and was kindly posted on my site. I am reproducing it with appropriate credit to the original author.

When I first read it, I was too distressed to properly take it in. I read it again today, calmer, and it resonated strongly with me. I coloured it green, because it seems life affirming to me.

Are you hanging by a thread?
It’s hard. It’s wrenching. It’s incredibly painful and it’s difficult to feel lightness.

Or to see clearly.

Hanging by a thread can be really disorienting. What you’re going through undeniably sucks.

Listen to me: It’s going to be okay. You’re going to get through this. You can do it. Baby, you ARE doing it.

You’re getting through this. Right now your cells are plumping up and your heart is beating and you have your breath. *In breath. Out breath.* It’s really okay if you have to get that basic about getting through it.

In breath, out breath. Sun’s gonna rise. It’s going to be okay.

Take encouragement from strangers. Like me. Go ahead. Take it. It’s free and I don’t feel karmically entangled. So listen to me: It’s going to be okay.

This will not kill you.

Do you believe in angels? If you don’t, just believe in them for the next twenty fours. There are a hundred thousand angels by your side.

You’re probably feeling devastatingly alone, like an iceberg drifting. No one can hear you cracking. It’s cold. But, just like an iceberg, you have so much beneath the surface. Years of layers and lifetimes of experience and strengths to call on — skills of expanding consciousness that you didn’t even know you had. You will not sink.

People have been through what you’re going through right now. Thousands of them.

Really and truly. Your picture of heartbreak, your strain of pain is part of the human fabric, and that tapestry is holding you like an Eskimo blanket. Other people have survived this and when they got out of the hole, they left a morphogenic popcorn trail out of the pain. You can trace their steps.

It may be hard to believe right now, but not only will it be okay, not only will you get through and over this, you will thrive again. You will be clear and vibrant and INCREDIBLE.

You will not only have more character to pull out at parties and wisdom to offer the world, but you will feel more joy than you think is possible right now.

You will.

You may walk with a limp. You may wince when you look back (understandable) you may cry unexpectedly in the book store, but you’ll be more alive, and more You. You will be strong. And you will feel a curious sensation of being more useful. And it will feel really, really fantastic.

What you’re going through right now is so difficult.

And it’s going to be okay.

More than okay.

Love,
Danielle

Day 6 and Day 167

Day 167 sober.

One hundred and sixty seven days. With NO alcohol. I’ve survived the breakdown of my relationship, enjoyed a sober holiday, been on lots of nights out, hosted and attended lunch and dinner parties. And I have not drunk alcohol.

I would have drunk, conservatively, 192 bottles of wine in this period. That would have cost me (again conservatively) £1530. I’m broke now, but hey, less broke than I would have been.

For anyone reading who is in the early days, struggling, relapsed, or simply does not beleive they can do this… YOU CAN. You really really can. Slowly, one day at a time. Carefully, with due respect for your triggers and prioritising your sobriety . YOU CAN . I don’t think about it that much now, at least compared to the early days. Maybe twice a day I remember that I am sober, maybe once a week I wonder, briefly, if I could / should drink.

This week I told my brother and my mother that I have been sober for almost 6 months. My brother never judges (he has always had an off switch) and was pleased for me. My mother was clearly astonished, but in the bigger crisis of the moment, let it pass without the usual reminders of exactly how shit my drinking had made her feel. Phew !

And, Day 6. Day 6 since breaking what I had hoped would be a lifelong partnership. This is early days again. Raw, exposed, painful. Confused, distressing, discombobulating. ( I love that word, although I do not think its a REAL word) and the last 6 days have been HARD.

i expected that, and I expect it to continue for a while.

But, there is a light, and not a tiny light either , at the end of the tunnel. I feel lighter, calmer, less anxious. My children are undoubtedly happier. There are problems and troubles; some practical, some emotional, to come. I will manage.

When I think about the worst possible things that could happen now that ExP is not here, not one seems as impossible to manage / negotiate as the deal breakers in our relationship that I have been wrestling with (alone) for the last few years.

One day at a time. Just like sobriety. Plan, respect yourself, take care of yourself, be aware of triggers, don’t look at forever. Just be kind to yourself and keep on going.

i can do this too.

( the photo is sunrise over Tresco, it’s not my image so I use it with thanks to the photographer)

Therapist

today I went to meet a potential therapist. This is the second. I didn’t feel comfortable with the first and was quite anxious about meeting this one. I pick quite carefully, as there are plenty to choose from. I wanted a woman, of my sort of age or older, someone with quite a few years  under their belt (doctors are notoriously dreadful patients) someone who has maybe treated health professionals before. I wanted someone who works, or has worked within the NHS because the training and supervision is very good. I wanted someone warm I could talk to.

This lady, I think it’s ok to call her by her name, Angela, was astute, and in 5 minutes she had grasped that what I need right now is validation that I have made the right choice about exP, and emotional support to not waver.

I need an astute therapist, one who can hear not only what I do say, but what I don’t.

She was also kind. And gentle. I liked her, and she helped me.

I will go again on Friday and then probably weekly.

I have achieved NOTHING else today, but I think that’s ok, and in 1/2 hour I WILL take son No3 to the theatre in London for the treat I have been promising him.

It’s day 5 today, if Friday was day 1 and bar a small altercation on the doorstep this morning I have avoided direct contact with ExP. I need to do this or he  will talk me round as he has done so after before …

Baby steps.

 

Feelings Mark 2

I have posted before about my difficulty connecting with my “feelings”. Sometimes I don’t know what I feel – I mean really Don’t know what I feel.

other times, like now I DO know, but I don’t trust it.

This morning I Feel better, I feel calmer, I feel less anxious, I feel that my future will be better without him.

But I feel guilty for thinking that, and I can’t help feeling ( or is it thinking) that I am somehow wrong.

He (exP) tells me that he misses me, but if I examine my feelings minutely , I don’t miss him. Last night me and sons 1 and 3 sat in our front room after I had made the boys’ dinner. We watched the “jungle book”, the new adaptation. Son #3 and I cuddled up on the sofa , and son 1 kept 1/2 ( or perhaps 3/4) of an eye on his phone. Lola snoozed on her bed. I drank a couple of Becks blue lemon, and donated one to son 1 (in the absence of any ‘proper’ alcohol he seemed happy enough with it)

An unremarkable, I dare say boring, family evening. But. For us it was pretty special. No one yelling at the kids to get their feet off he sofa (he exp- lay with his feet on the sofa ALL THE TIME) no bad atmosphere because the kids were ‘in adult space’ ; no brooding presence because we were watching something he didn’t want to, NO TENSION. bliss.

I was thinking about the end of my marriage. I struggled for a long time trying to MAKE exH see that smoking pot all day in front of kids who were then 8,5 and 2 was a bad role model, unsafe, made him paranoid and very scary. To me it was SO obvious, why couldn’t I make him understand it? The break point came when he took son#1 to a gig in London one evening. Son 1 was 11 years old. My ExH got so paralytically drunk / drugged, that he was asked to leave the club. He was in no state to get home, so son #1had to work out how to get a paralytically drunk man home from central London. In the days before he had a mobile, with only his wits to help him. That was enough. It was as though he (exH) had to do something SO awful that no one could put up with it, before I was “allowed” to call it a day.

But it took me several weeks to work out that it didn’t really matter if HE (exH) thought his behaviour was acceptable. I DID NOT, and that my feelings and beliefs were just as Viable and valuable and important as his. And I could not MAKE him understand me because he DID NOT WANT TO CHANGE. Oh, and that I did not need his agreement to divorce him.

Fast forward to now. The reasons that my relationship with my exP (formally known as Mr Lily although we are not married) is over are MY reasons. They are deal breakers FOR ME. And he will never agree, he will never think I’m being reasonable. But I Do. And that IS good enough. He will not agree, he will not understand. That will not happen. And I will wait forever for the day that he says ” yes, you are right, I have behaved unreasonably ”

I am afraid, that he will undermine me if I see him. That he will convince me again that I am WRONG. that it’s ridiculous, stupid, blinkered , that I don’t know what I Feel. And that what I feel is stupid.

I need to think about this. Why should I believe his version of My reality? Why do I do that? Is he coercive? Emotionally abusive? Just outspoken? Harsh, cruel. I don’t know. Or is the “fault” mine, that I have not stood up for myself ( or the boys) enough, not argued each little point that I disagreed with, allowed him leeway, which he took as tacit agreement – that I agreed with him. Am in fact as wrong as he says I am?

Why have I ignored my “feelings”, no , my deepest instinct telling me, SCREAMING AT ME THAT THIS IS NOT OK, for such a long time? Why have I not raised this issues In a take it or leave it way? I have been questioning the future of this relationship for 3 years.

What is wrong with me?

And WHY am I still not 100% sure it’s done. Because it should be. And not one person, even HIS friends, who have seen inside this house what goes on, have said that I should consider ‘the other side’; not one.

 

Son 1

 

Yesterday was for me about son #1. Forgive this, and skip it if you either don’t have kids, or they have never given you a moments worry!! Son#1 ( I will call him B) was born to me as a single mother. His biological father has never seen him or had anything at all to do with him. He signed over parental rights to B (to my ex husband who adopted him) when B was 3. It took me a VERY LONG TIME, to see that it was not I, who failed B (although I take my share of less than perfect behaviour) but his useless feckless father who abandoned his responsibilities as a FATHER.  I have not yet forgiven myself for the “mistake” of conceiving a child in these circumstances.

So B and I were a unit, from the beginning. We lived in one room in my mother’s house. I had £50 a week maternity allowance and NOTHING else. B was prem, sickly and had reflux. He had apnoea one day and was blue lighted to hospital – that was probably the worst day of my life. But, I’m tough, and I was a qualified GP (family doctor) so from 3 months old I started working, part time, locum shifts to start with. Found child care, upped my hours and when B was 11 months old I applied for and got a partnership in a local practice – where I still am today. I bought us a small house, B thrived. All good.

Then I met my ex husband. He is the subject of another blog post. And the reasons why I married him are the subject of about 2 blog posts, I think. But I did, and sons 2 and 3, both planned, came along. All good you might think. Except that exH was a drug addict (cannabis – and later cocaine- and cannabis, like alcohol is probably OK for most people – but for some it is most definitely NOT OK) my exH fell into the latter category.  A messy, painful, frightening, desperate few years passed, and I divorced him.

to his credit exH has always treated B as his own son, and this continued after we divorced.

I identified early that B was not quite like other kids. He smiled late, he never had separation anxiety, his speech was a little delayed, he had odd phrases, and these persisted after you would expect them to have stopped. He was not fully and reliably dry till about 6. But, even though I am a bloody doctor, I never put 2 & 2 together to get the correct answer. I think I might have done if he had had an older sibling, but he was my first.  He went to school and struggled. Eventually, aged 9 he got a diagnosis of moderate dyslexia, followed swiftly by a positive assessment for Asperger’s syndrome.

It’s  mild. The aspergers, but it has shaped his whole life. You don’t see it when he is with adults, as he has trained himself to make pretty good eye contact and he is articulate. You don’t see it with younger kids, who will do as an older child directs, But you do see it with his peers, where he is “odd” and they exclude him. This happened again and again, and you can’t make kids be kind to each other. The full extent of the bullying he felt at junior school has only very recently come to my attention.

He started stealing, and lying compulsively. He started ordering things on the internet meant for adults, he skipped school. He was expelled from school for theft (on CCTV ) and arrested for possession of cannabis. By now he was 14/15. Academic study stopped. He got in with the wrong crowd because he was so desperate for friends. He failed all but 3 of his GCSE exams ( for my non UK readers, a child of his ability should have got 8-10 good passes) significantly he did not pass English.

He took a resit year. Did no work, spent almost  all his time with a girl I cannot say I was pleased with. Failed again.

In the meantime his weight has doubled, he had no motivation to exercise, was unable to find even a part time job, was sullen, uncommunicative and his future looked very very bleak indeed.

And all the time ( from aged 13 probably) exP has been imposing increasingly severe and unkind sanctions on him. Bullying him, humiliating him, criticising him, calling him ‘fat’ and ‘ useless’ . Not always, but enough. And he would not see that it was wrong. The fact that he has limited relationships with his own adult children, now seems extremely relevant.

Dont get me wrong, the compulsive lying and the theft – from family, friends, school, our friends, us, me his grandparents – has been very, very hard. I have hated it. But you can’t hold what he did at 14/15 over his head for ever. He’s now almost 18 and I don’t believe he has stolen anything for at least 12 months.

One of the biggest deal breakers for exP and I has been his relationship with B. We went to family therapy for a while, but exP would not really engage.

Until B and I went to the Army recruitment centre; until this last fortnight on the NCS programme, until he dumped the odious girlfriend (he has done so) I saw little hope. By letting go of ExP I have provided him with his safe space again, at home.

The future is still uncertain. It won’t be easy. But at least now there is hope.

Being a mother is hard. But I love him, and he is MY son. He is kind, can be very considerate, has learned to control his temper – he never ever scares me like exP does and he’s just as strong – he’s good natured, and given the right opportunity I do believe he will  thrive …

i know it will take me years to forgive myself for not removing exP from his life years ago.

First meeting with a different therapist tomorrow : and another on Friday. I need the right person.